Coming February 13th, 2024 from Katherine Tegen Books; 336 pages
About Swati Teerdhala: “Swati Teerdhala is a storyteller and writer. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a B.S. in Finance and History, she tumbled into the marketing side of the technology industry. She’s passionate about many things, including how to make a proper cup of chai, the right ratio of curd-to-crust in a lemon tart, and diverse representation in the stories we tell. She currently lives in New York City” (Bio from author’s Goodreads).
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Meet Deepa, a self-professed hopeless romantic whose standards for love are set sky-high because of her parents’ fairytale love story. When her grandmother gifting her a supposedly wish-granting flower coincides with a cute boy, Rohit, moving in across the street, Deepa thinks she’s found the one. Even Vik, her next door neighbor, approves of the new guy, even though all Vik ever does is make fun of Deepa. Her grandmother warns that the wish is only permanent if sealed with a kiss, but, despite how perfect Rohit is, Deepa keeps hesitating. Is he really the boyfriend she wished for, after all?
The Boyfriend Wish is not my ideal rom-com, but it was still undeniably charming! The love triangle was refreshingly exciting—though Deepa’s inevitable choice was fairly obvious. Both Rohit and Vik were compelling and distinct love interests, a rarity in YA romance. Rohit is, as Deepa says multiple times during the book, the “perfect guy” (or at least, he seems to be): he’s suave, stylish, and sends Deepa flowers. Vik is literally the boy-next-door, Deepa’s childhood friend-turned-menace, her forsworn enemy in their legendary prank war. Both boys have their fair share of romantic scenes with Deepa, and the storage closet scene (you’ll know it when you read it!) in particular was deliciously tension-filled and had me smiling uncontrollably. I adored the characterization of all the maniacal younger siblings, too—their scheming, plotting, and quipping was essential to Deepa’s happy ending. While Deepa eventually got her wish, I found myself with my own: a longer story that expanded on what could’ve been peak rom-com scenes! Deepa and Vik have a paintball fight together, but instead of a scene filled with flirting and yearning, this interaction was glossed over and done within paragraphs. Additionally, the characters sometimes felt a little dull and lacking complexity. Amamma, for instance, felt like she was created solely for the purposes of filling the role of the “wise old woman” that gives Deepa a magical flower and cryptic advice about life. With that being said, I still finished the book feeling all warm and fuzzy because of how sweet it was, and, of course, grateful for the South Indian—specifically Telugu—representation. If you’re looking for a fun, breezy YA rom-com, The Boyfriend Wish is the perfect read for you.
The Boyfriend Wish releases on February 13, 2024.
Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley, SparkPoint Studio, and Katherine Tegen Books for sending us an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change before final publication.
Aruna Sreenivasan, Pine Reads Review Assistant Director and Community Outreach Lead